Thursday, December 15, 2005

So much to write about...

...and so little time! This week has been crazy! I can hardly keep up with all the housework. Hopefully life is going to settle down a bit after Christmas...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

And another week has gone by...

...I can't believe it. What a crazy week we had, too. On Friday, we had our Christmas concert, and it turned out suprisingly well. I'd guess there were maybe about 100 people who came to listen, which, as I understand, is about 4 times what they got for their Spring concert. Wow. It really was lots of fun, and I think turned out to be a great concert. :o) This coming week is going to be crazy, too. Tyler has his school Christmas concert on Monday, which I'm really looking forward to. On Tuesday, we have another performance with our chorus, Wednesday is Dave's b-day, Thursday I volunteered to help cut up fruit for Friday's big Christmas party. Saturday I have Church choir practice in the morning, because Sunday is our Christmas program at Church. So yeah, busy busy busy. Time sure flies when you're having fun. Oh, and speaking of Tyler, he brought home a certificate that he was Student of the Month for November. What a good little boy. He's so eager to learn, well behaved, and always willing to help others. And I'd say it's despite his parents' parenting. :p He's also made lots of progress in reading and writing. In fact, he's in his class' "first grade writing" group, he does so well. He's really just taking off, and I'm glad to see it, as I don't really agree with some of the things they do in school (mostly teaching methods). Guess that's what I get for having an Elementary Ed degree, I'm picky... :p Well, I should go get the dishwasher loaded. Some work never ends...

Monday, December 05, 2005

29.1%

...of babies were born via c/s in 2004, according to the latest NCHS report. Interestingly, the rise in c/s rates does NOT coincide with lower mortality and morbidity rates. So clearly, a higher c-section rate does not mean improved safety for infant and mother. Why is it, then, that the c/s rates in this country are going up and up and up? The World Health organization recommends that a country's c/s rate should be no higher than 15%. We're twice that. It makes me wonder about the state of maternal health care in this country. Sadly, probably about half of all c-sections performed could have been avoided. For women with a previous c/s, vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is a safe option. However, probably due to malpractice lawsuits, the ACOG revised their VBAC recommendations in the late 90's, leading to more and more doctors not offering VBAC anymore. In fact, even hospitals put it in their "rules" that VBAC's are no longer permitted. I just saw an article stating that in OK, the major malpractice insurance carrier is basically prohibiting doctors from attending VBAC's. So much for choices... We're headed back to "once a c-section, always a c-section". Primary c-sections are on the rise, too, reaching more than 20%. Undoubtedly, increasing acceptance of elective medical induction of labor has at least some part in this. Induced first time mothers are at least twice as likely to end up with a c/s than first time moms who went into labor on their own. Yet convenience seems to outweigh the risks of induction more and more. And then there's the case of elective cesarean. Apparently, having major abdominal surgery is becoming more popular than merely pushing a baby out the way it's supposed to come out. Why women would choose this is beyond me. Studies have shown that women who birth vaginally are no more likely to experience incontinence later in life than women who gave birth by cesarean, yet this is one of the arguments used most often for elective c/s. My personal favorite, though, is "I don't want to go through the pain of labor and pushing a baby out." Makes me laugh out loud every time. Do women take into account longer recovery times, and doubtless more pain during recovery? Never mind the risk of chronic scar pain, or pain of adhesions some women develop following a cesarean. Never mind the increased risk of hemorrhaging, or infection. Oh well, I suppose it's really not that bad, since blood is readily available for transfusions, and after all, there are antibiotics to counteract infection. And who cares if you can't even bend down to pick up your baby for a week after giving birth? Who cares that having a c/s increases risks for future pregnancies (namely placenta previa, accreta, or placental abruption)? Are those risks, and they are very real, negligible enough that doctors and women don't mind taking them? Is it all about our convenience now? What about the baby's safety? Does it not matter that babies born via c/s are something like 5 times more likely to end up in the NICU than babies born vaginally? It really just boggles my mind that women are so concerned about eating well, exercising, not drinking and smoking, etc. etc. etc. to ensure a healthy pregnancy, yet when it comes to birth choices, it's all about bring on the drugs and cut me open. And as far as the medical establishment is concerned, whatever happened to "first, do no harm"? Sure, medical technology has advanced to a point where women can give birth numbed from the waist down, and the risks are fairly small. Yes, surgical procedures have improved greatly to make c-sections safer than ever. That does not mean, however, that there are NO risks to having a medicated birth, or even c/s. They may be small, but they still exist. I believe that one of the reasons we are seeing increasing rates of c-sections is that apparently, women and doctors feel increasingly comfortable intervening in the birth process, for any number of reasons. "The second Friday of the month would be the most convenient for me." "Since you're at 38 weeks, let's just induce before the baby gets too big." "You're 40w1d, that means you're past your due date. Your baby is in danger, we better induce." "You've been in labor for more than 12 hours, we should start thinking about a c-section." "You've been pushing for more than 45 minutes, obviously you're not made to birth vaginally. Let's just get the baby out." "You look like you're tired of being pg, let's just schedule an induction." "I've determined your pelvis is too small, let's schedule a c/s." Oh, and the list goes on. What has happened to our trust in our bodies? Trust that our bodies were designed to birth naturally? Yes, there are instances where problems arise. There are certainly good reasons for induction, good reasons for c/s. But really, are our bodies so faulty that almost 1/3 of us should not be able to birth without major abdominal surgery? I don't believe so. Sadly, I believe that politics increasingly limit birth choices. I believe that women are brought up to think of birth of torture. I believe that more and more doctors don't think women care about their birth experience, and sadly they may even be right. "I just want a baby, I really don't care how it gets here." How much women miss out on with this kind of attitude, how many unnecessary surgeries are performed. Doctors are afraid of malpractice suits, so they opt for c/s more and more often to protect themselves. And ultimately, it IS the women suffering. One prime example of a sad story is that of a friend of mine. With her first baby, she scheduled a convenience induction. Was she told that it would greatly increase her risk of ending up with a c/s? No. So she goes in, is eventually labled "failure to progress", the baby's heartrate starts showing signs of distress, c-section. With her second baby, she wanted to try a VBAC. She gets to her due date without going into labor, and her doctor advises her to be induced "so the baby won't get too big". Did he tell her that artificial induction would increase her risk of uterine rupture? No. Of course, her uterus ruptured, requiring an emergency c/s. On to her third baby. Scheduled c/s. The doctors tell her she had better not have any more children, as her uterus is "paper thin" around the scar area. Another pregnancy wouldn't be safe. How devastating for my friend, who was hoping for a large family (6-8 children). Why did it come to this? Because a doctor went along with induction plans when it would have been quite reasonable to wait another week and give the body time to get ready for labor on its own. Because a doctor suggested an induction to a VBAC mom, despite a well-known increased risk of uterine rupture. Why do I care? Because I have children, who one day are going to have children, and I'm truly concerned about the state maternal health care is going to be in by then. Because women are so utterly uninformed about normal birth, and nothing is being done to change that. Is ignorance bliss? I don't think so, and that's why I care.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tyler's visit to the dentist

Poor guy is scared to death of going. So we went in for a sedation appointment this morning. They gave him some drugs, and he started getting all loopy. Still didn't help much, he screamed through most of the appointment. The drugs are supposed to have an amnesiac effect, though I'm not sure it really worked. I'm guessing getting him in for his next regular check-up in February is going to be fun. Not... :o(

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Erster Advent

Well, I guess today officially marks the end of Thanksgiving. It's the "Erste Advent". In Germany, this is when you light the first candle on the advent wreath (out of four). Unfortunately, our apartment policies don't allow candles. :o( Christmas time just isn't the same without candles. Oh well... Anyway, Thanksgiving was lots of fun. We had our first Thanksgiving dinner at our house, the first Thanksgiving for my parents, too. The turkey was really good, as were the mashed potatoes and gravy. Overall quite sucessful. :o) Friday we got a visit from Dave's sister Beth and her family and Dave's brother Keith and his wife Nicci. It was so much fun to see them. The cousins all had a great time playing together, and the adults enjoyed a nice visit. We went out for dinner at the "Blue Bird" restaurant, where Dave's grandparents had their wedding luncheon in 1941. To top off a great day, ASU (our Alma Mater) won the football game against UofA. Woohoo! :p Saturday was a good day for shopping. We got 20 Kohl's bucks, so now we have to go again this week. They sure know how to keep their customers coming back. :p Today was a busy day, too. Church was good. Several people talked about things they are thankful for, and it was so interesting to listen to. I feel like I learned a lot. Well, Kaylee is getting fussy, so I best be going again. She thinks she needs her nursies. :p

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Hehe, shopping is fun!

Especially when you don't have to pay for it! My mom and I hit the stores today, and it was great fun! We both got stuff for ourselves (of course!), and I also got my Christmas shopping done. Woohoo! Of course, I did pay for some of my stuff, but my mom definitely paid for most of it. We got some awesome deals, too. :o)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Let the teething begin...

...that's right, Kaylee is getting her first two teeth! Such a big girl...

Wow, time flies...

...it's been a week since I last wrote. And a crazy week it's been, too. On Thursday, we had a chorus performance at an Interfaith Service. We sounded awful, lol. :p At least for the first song. Seeing as we'd had two days' notice, and hadn't really had much time to rehearse. Yeah, the first song was embarrassing. But the second and third turned out really well. Overall, it was a fun time. Then Friday was spent cleaning the house. Dave had decided to come home early from school to help out. So while I took Kaylee to the dr (her clogged tearducts had gotten really bad again, and I finally gave in and went for some antibiotic eyedrops), Dave decided to clean up the bedroom. I was gone almost an hour, and thought good, Dave should be just about done when I get home. Got home, and almost fell over when I saw the bedroom. Apparently, cleaning wasn't enough, and Dave decided to rearrange the whole room. Not such a bad idea, except Kaylee was more than ready for a nap, and she sleeps in our bed... So, I gave him another half hour and went to pick up Tyler and his friend from school. By the time I got back, Kaylee was losing it, but the bedroom was fortunately done. Of course, it had taken much longer than planned, so all of a sudden we were behind on our cleaning schedule. Saturday was crazy, too. We spent the morning cleaning some more, and then Dave and the boys went to the football game. I was planning on putting Kaylee for a nap so I could do more cleaning (yes, our apartment had been neglected for a while...). And you guessed it, the one day she only slept for half an hour... And nothing got done. Oh well. Around dinner time we left for SLC to go pick up my parents from the airport (see now why we had to clean so much???). We got there just as they had arrived, waited for the luggage, and went right home. How nice of them to be half an hour early! Made for not quite such a late night. Sunday morning was like Christmas morning for the boys. They got to help my parents unpack the suitcases, and found all kinds of treasures. Fun! Monday and Tuesday just kind of flew by, too. It's been fun to have some visitors. Especially the boys have been enjoying their Oma and Opa. Kaylee isn't quite sure what to think. She's a very attached baby, to say the least. :p But she's warming up to them, too. Hey, anyone with a pair of hands to hold on to and walk around with must be a great person, right?! :o) So, here we are, Wednesday, and still lots to do in preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow. This is going to be our first time doing the whole meal by ourselves, and I'm trying to figure out the logistics of getting all the food made with only a half-size oven available. A whole different rant altogether. Whoever thought of putting a half-size oven/stove into a 3 bdr. apartment, anyway? Um, yeah, large families tend to live here... Anyway, my week in a nutshell...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

8 months ago today...

...we welcomed Kaylee into the world. It sure seems like it was yesterday. Yet here she is, smiling, laughing, "talking", "walking" - being her own little person. Time sure goes by quickly. Kaylee's latest hobby is walking around while holding on to mommy's or daddy's fingers. She could go and go all day, and is becoming so strong. I sure wish I would have made note of how long it took to go from "finger walking" to real walking with the boys, just so I could have an idea of how much longer my poor back is going to have to suffer. In fact, I think I pulled a muscle or something just below my shoulder blade, as my back has a really sore spot right there. :o(

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Want some cheese with that whine?

A question I could ask Bryan a hundred times a day. What is it with 2yo's and whining???

Why go through the pain if you don't have to?

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I hear it quite often from women who choose to have an epidural. In fact, I used to ask the same question just a couple of years ago. Who in their right mind would go through childbirth without readily-available pain medication? And why on earth would anyone choose to do that? Or even birth outside the hospital setting? There are probably just as many reasons as there are women choosing to birth in a different setting than mainstream America. Some don't want to expose their babies to unecessary drugs (and yes, epidural medication does reach your baby). Some feel that it's "pain with a purpose". And some feel that birth isn't inherently painful. That it is possible to have a pain-free birth. Mind over body. I have come to firmly believe this, based on my own experience. I think one of the reasons why women experience pain beyond what they feel they can handle is socialization. What do you hear when you go to a baby shower? Horror stories of women giving birth in excruciating pain. Women exclaiming how much they loved their epidurals, and how they were madly in love with their anesthesiologist for "saving" them. So women approach birth with the mindset that it's going to hurt, and that they had better ask for the epidural the second they arrive at the hospital. They faithfully read "What to Expect...", and are well informed about all of their pain relief options. They attend a hospital childbirth class, where they are taught how to "hee hee hee" and "haa haa haa" until the anesthesiologist has a minute to put the needle in their spine. Heaven forbid you should experience any more discomfort than you absolutely have to. For my first birth, I went into it with the "we'll see how it goes" attitude. When the dr broke my water at 5 cm, and I went straight into transition, I literally thought I was going to die. Looking back, I think my reaction was typical for someone going through transition. But instead of trying to get me back into a relaxed state and helping me refocus, the nurse ran out to get the anesthesiologist. Who, of course, saved me. And I was determined never to be so silly as to try natural childbirth again. No, with my next baby, I demanded an epidural just as soon as I reached the magical 3 cm. Got the needle in my back, and then hung out on the bed for a few more hours until I felt pressure and knew it was time to push the baby out. Really not so bad, but, something is missing I thought. So with my third baby, I chose to go for natural childbirth. Dave thought I was crazy, of course. But I went on my merry way, reading about NCB, asking questions, talking to others who had chosen NCB. I decided that I wanted to use hypnobirthing, and did the Hypnobabies homestudy course. Best thing I could have ever done. Dave was very skeptical at first, and thought some of the things in the book were a bit "out there". I just went with it, though, and it was wonderful to learn how to completely relax every part of my body. In fact, after the first couple of weeks of practicing, I would usually fall asleep while listening to my hypnosis scripts. Came in handy those last few weeks of pregnancy when it's difficult to get comfortable anymore. :o) Anyway, long story short, learning how to completely relax my body, learning about different techniques I could use during my birthing time, and also knowing what I wanted/didn't want during labor helped me have a wonderful experience. Kaylee's birth was so peaceful and special. It was intense, but never really painful. I felt in control the whole time, and catching her as she was being born was the most amazing thing I've ever done. Never mind the endorphin/adrenaline high I was on after the birth. My birthing time had lasted almost 24 hours, about half of that active labor. I hadn't slept hardly at all during that time. Yet I felt so refreshed and energetic, I literally felt like I could go run a marathon. :p I had a hard time sleeping the night after she was born. That "high" lasted for another 2 or 3 weeks. It was almost like I couldn't stop smiling, and it wasn't until the sleep deprivation started catching up with me that I started coming off the "oh, I want to do that again" feeling. :o) It was simply wonderful, and quite different from my first two experiences. So, after my own experience with NCB, and reading lots of good books, I've come up with a list of things that I feel influence whether a natural childbirth will be a good or a "I don't ever want to do THAT again" experience. Not a complete list at all, but maybe the Top 10 things I think women should consider before deciding to just plan on the epidural.
1. Read good books, such as Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn - The Complete Guide
2. Carefully consider the risks involved in using pain medication. Consenting to an epidural brings with it a host of other interventions, such as IV fluids, a catheter, and continuous fetal monitoring. It can also slow down labor, requiring pitocin augmentation (and all the added risks of pitocin). Furthermore, it can cause a severe drop in blood pressure, leading to decreased oxygen supply to the baby while the mother's bp is brought back under control. And the list goes on...
3. Take a childbirth preparation class. Often, the ones offered by the hospital will be insufficient. I personally suggest hypnobirthing or hypnobabies, or Bradley. There are others, such as Birthing from Within, but I haven't done enough research about them to be able to recommend them.
4. Hire a doula. Having a professional labor assistant can be invaluable, especially since dads are not usually all that helpful. ;o)
5. When your birthing time has come, stay out of bed!!! Move around, walk, sway, slow dance, sit on a birthing ball, sit on the toilet, get in the tub or shower. These are all methods that can be used to help a mother relax, and ease the discomfort of contractions.
6. Choose a care provider with a low c-section, induction, and episiotomy rate.
7. Believe in your body's ability to give birth. Birth was NOT meant to be so painful as to be unbearable. Having a positive attitude about birth makes a huge difference. Break the "Fear, Tension, Pain" cycle. The less you fear birth, the less tense your body is, the less pain you experience. Being able to relax is invaluable.
8. Refuse induction unless there is a compelling medical need for it. Remember, 37-42 weeks is all considered "full-term". Some women gestate longer than others. Pregnancies can safely go beyond 42 weeks, as long as they are monitored closely and the baby is doing well.
9. Refuse AROM (artificial rupture of membranes, "water breaking"). Contractions are much easier on you and the baby with the amniotic fluid providing a cushion.
10. Be informed, be informed, be informed. I can't say it enough. Don't listen to horror stories, but surround yourself with positive birth stories. Do your research!

While natural childbirth may not be for everyone, I firmly believe that if more women were more educated, we would hear many more positive birth stories rather than "I was in excruciating pain" and "the epidural saved me." Why go through the pain if you don't have to? Because there doesn't have to be pain, or if there is, then it can be manageable. Not something to "go through", but something to experience, leading to a wonderful and amazing experience of bringing a baby into the world. Not to mention a crazy "after birth" high. :p

Monday, November 14, 2005

What a weekend...

...with a bunch of sickies in the house. Bryan, the one who eats no fruits and vegetables, actually seems to be the least sick of the crew... Kaylee's got a stuffy nose, but it's getting better. Now her cough is getting worse, though. We were pretty much up from 3:30 till 5:00 or so last night, cause the coughing kept waking her up. We both slept in till 8 though, so that was nice. Tyler started with a headache and fever Friday night, had a pretty high fever and headache on Saturday, and still a low grade fever yesterday. He seems to have no other symptoms, though, other than the occasional cough. He also seems back to normal today, so I let him go to school. Speaking of Tyler, he also had a dentist appointment this morning. Turns out he made a fuss, so they had to reschedule the appointment and he's going to get some drugs (anesthesia) next time.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Woohoo!!!!

Dave passed his test, which means we now have about two more years of school until the PhD!!! Yay!!!

And so it begins...

...cold season, that is. Bryan started with a cough on Tuesday, then Kaylee had a fever Wednesday night and Thursday. Now she has a cough and runny nose. Ah, the joy of fall/winter season.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

It's Test Day!

Well, the day for Dave's re-take has finally come. He took his PhD quals back in March, a week after Kaylee was born. He passed two of the exams, but failed one. So today is the day he's re-taking the one he failed in March. If he passes, we'll have about 2 years of school left (give or take a semester). If he fails again, we're likely going to be done here. The test starts in an hour. I hope he does well.

ETA: Dave just called me. The first thing they told him when he went to take the exam was "Do you have a graphing calculator? You can't use that." So, they gave him some other calculator that he didn't even know how to turn on. :o What's up with that??? Shouldn't they tell people that kind of thing ahead of time? I know Dave would have prepared differently for the exam had he known he wasn't allowed to use his graphing calculator. He would have probably also found a different calculator and learned how to do certain calculations on it. As it was, he had to figure that out on top of trying to take the test... Frustrating. Needless to say, the next couple of days (or however long it takes them to grade the test) will be nervewrecking...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Why do women think their bodies are somehow not functioning right???

Somehow not made for birthing? Or breastfeeding? A friend of mine had a baby earlier this year. She started dilating at around 36 weeks, and then stayed at 3-4 cm without progress for a couple of weeks. So somehow, she felt that her body must not know how to go into labor, and ended up being induced. Not past her due date, no, a week BEFORE her due date. Whatever happened to waiting for the baby to be ready? Newsflash: Just because a woman's cervix starts to dilate does NOT mean her baby is ready to be born. It's normal for some women to walk around dilated 3 cm or even more for several weeks before actually going into labor. That does not mean their bodies somehow don't function right. It simply means the baby may not be quite ready. Just think about it. Some women start to dilate very early, like 30 weeks. Does that mean their babies are ready to be born then? No, of course not. Most likely, the women will be put on bedrest for a few weeks. But all of a sudden, if a woman is 36 or 37 weeks, and has started dilating, the need to "do something" arises. Why??? Because the woman is tired of being pregnant? Because the dr is out of town? Because there are other things going on that would make birth more convenient at a scheduled time? Because, hey, 37 weeks is considered full term, so of course the baby's ready and obviously the body is just not doing what it's supposed to? I really don't get it. Do women research all the risks associated with induction before agreeing to it? Or do they just trust that their doctor knows best, and wouldn't ever do anything to harm them or their baby? Do women realize that induced labor is harder on not only them, but the baby? Sure, mom can get an epidural, but what about the baby? Do women know that the incidence of fetal distress is higher in induced labors than in natural labors? That c/s rates for fetal distress rise? That the risk of uterine rupture rises? That the risk for post partum hemorrhage rises? What is it with our need to schedule things? Are babies "things" that should be scheduled? I think not. I tend to think that in the majority of cases, babies know when they should be born, and women's bodies know how to birth. Yes, there are times where medical intervention is helpful and necessary, but should it be used routinely just because? I think not...

On another "scheduling" note, what is it with putting babies on schedules? Feeding schedules, especially for breastfed babies? When Kaylee was just 3 weeks old, the dr asked how breastfeeding was going. I told him that she feeds anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Promptly, he tells me that she shouldn't be nursing more than every 2 hours. WTH??? BS, I say. When my baby is hungry, I nurse her. When my baby is tired, I nurse her. When my baby needs comfort, I nurse her. I'm the mom, that's what I'm there for. What exactly does 2 or 3 hours mean to a baby? Jack diddly squad. "Sorry sweetie, it hasn't been 2 hours, it's not time for nursies yet." Huh? I don't get it. Worse yet, women are told that they're not making enough milk if their baby is nursing more often than every 2 or 3 hours. Even more BS, and worse, too. They are then told that they need to start supplementing with formula. Do doctors not realize that bf'ing works on a demand/supply basis? The more the baby nurses, the more milk mommy makes. Likewise, if a bottle is introduced, baby will suckle less, and mommy will produce less milk. So there, again, somehow her body is broken? I think not. Very very rarely does a woman have a medical condition that truly does limit her supply (or sometimes on medication that reduces milk supply). I say forget about the clock. Nurse the baby when (s)he's hungry, tired, cranky, whatever. The more you nurse, the more you make. In my own case, Tyler only nursed every 3 hours. But Bryan and Kaylee nursed much more frequently during the first 4-5 months. Rarely did they go more than 2.5 hours between feedings. The norm for them was 1.5 to 2 hours. So what's with the idea of feeding schedules for babies? My question is, do adults all eat on the same schedule? "Sorry, it's only been 1.5 hours since you had breakfast, no snack for you!" Duh. Some people eat more, some less. Some eat frequently throughout the day, some have bigger meals less often. So why shouldn't babies do the same? No, really, it's generally not a supply issue, it's messing with a natural process and introducing bottles, and sometimes even just pacifiers too early, that interferes with breastfeeding...

The Birth Story

Crazy it is, too. So my friend's water broke Friday afternoon. She was 41w1d. When her water broke, she noticed that there was some meconium staining, so they dropped off the kids and headed over to the hospital. After an initial half hour monitoring, the baby checked out okay, and my friend started walking the halls in hopes of encouraging contractions to begin. After a while, she went to the bathroom and noticed that the meconium was getting thicker. So she went back on the monitors, and sure enough the baby's heart showed decels. So the dr decided to do an amnioinfusion (put a saline solution back into the uterus to flush out some of the meconium and provide an artificial "cushion" for the baby). This really helped the baby stabilize, but also meant that my friend was stuck in bed. Her contractions started slowing down, and after about 1.5 hours the baby's heartrate started dropping again. At this point, she was only 3 cm dilated, and the dr was getting worried. He basically told her that if her labor wasn't picking up anytime soon, he'd have to do a c/s because the baby wasn't doing very well. So my friend asked to try some pitocin to make her contractions stronger. They started her on the lowest possible dose, and it kicked right in. Her contractions went to 2 minutes apart, and were definitely stronger. After a while, she got checked again and was found to be at 5.5 cm. At her request, the pitocin was turned off, and sure enough, the contractions kept on coming. Within half an hour, she was complete and ready to push. Since she had had two previous 4th degree lacerations (episiotomies that extended into tears into the rectal tissue), she wanted to push lying on her side to reduce stress on her perineum. So, it was time to push, and the real fun began. Everyone kept telling her to get on her back and push push push. She felt irritated, as that was not what she had wanted. Then even her doula (who's also a lay midwife) helped move her to her back, and encouraged her to push. Even pushing while holding her breath, and between contractions. My friend hadn't had any pain medication, so she felt the pushing urge full force. She didn't really notice anything going on around her, but was just so turned into herself and NOT wanting to be on her back and holding her breath etc., she really felt irritated. Anyway, the baby came out really quickly, and she was then informed that while she was pushing on her side, the baby's heartrate dropped down to the 30's and wasn't coming back up. That's why the dr and doula wanted her on her back and pushing hard even between contractions. It obviously worked, and the baby was quickly born. The dr also apologized to her for doing a little episiotomy, since she had been really adament about not wanting one (based on her previous experience...). But seeing as the baby needed to be born fast, it was truly necessary. It ended up only being a 1st degree, just a couple of stitches. When the placenta was born, they found out why the baby had had problems. Apparently, the cord was attached on the side of the placenta instead of the middle where it's supposed to come out (like a candle on a b-day cake), and the cord was also very very thin. Everything was also quite badly stained, indicating that the meconium had been there for a while. The baby had swallowed a lot of mecomium, but thankfully didn't inhale any during birth. Unfortunately, he had problems with his blood sugar, though, and had to be in NICU for a couple of days on a glucose IV. But all is well now, and my friend was able to bring him home when she checked out of the hospital last night. She also says she feels much better than she did after her other two babies were born (epidural/episiotomy/4th degree tear births). Laboring with the water broken, and some pitocin at one time, was intense for her, but she says she's glad she chose to have the baby naturally. She feels very empowered, and I think also has renewed faith in her body's ability to birth and push out a baby without tearing all the way to the rectum. We all are greatful to an awesome doctor, who was patient and respected a birthing mother's wishes. Most other doctors would most likely have done a c/s much earlier, when the baby's heart rate started dropping into 70's even after the amnioinfusion, even between contractions, and was slow to recover. In fact, my friend's doula commented that she had never seen a baby birthed vaginally after decels like her baby had. They usually end in c/s. So yay for a healthy baby and no abdominal surgery! :o)

Friday, November 04, 2005

My friend's going to have her baby!

And I'm so excited for her! She's 41w1d today. We were sure she was going to have the baby Wednesday night, as she was contracting all day, and getting closer together, stronger and everything. But then the contrax stopped, and no baby. We were bummed. This afternoon, she was just getting ready to go to her NST when her water broke. They wanted her to go right to the hospital. I just talked to my friend's husband right before they left, and told him they should take their time dropping off the kids, then go out for dinner, and walk around to see if she can start into a good contraction pattern on her own. She's hoping for a natural childbirth, and I just know that they're gonna wanna push pitocin on her at the hospital if she's not already in good labor. @@ Pitocin and natural childbirth just don't really go together very well, as it makes contractions much stronger than natural contractions would be. Furthermore, it'll require her to have an IV, which she's wanting to avoid. And it'll require continuous monitoring, for which they'll likely make her stay in bed. Not the best place to be for someone not wanting pain medication. Really, the worst place... I just hope she's able to get some good contractions going on her own before checking in. I hope it all works out for her. Ahh, I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight... :p We pretty much spent all summer sitting outside in our lawn chairs, talking about pregnancy and birth, drawing up a birth preference plan, etc. etc. etc. I can't believe the day has finally arrived for her to have her baby, I think I'm probably just about as nervous and excited as she is.... :p

I just found out...

...that if you forget to feed your 7.5 month old solids for a day, her poop goes right back to the consistency, smell, and color of an exclusively breastfed baby's. As does the explosiveness of the poop.... :p

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Getting a ride...

...on mommy's back. :o)

A Basketball Poop!!!

Bryan: "Mom, I play a basketball poop!"
Mom: "You mean you're playing with the basketball hoop?"
Bryan: "Yes, I play a basketball poop!"

Saturday, October 29, 2005

They're coming home!!!

Exactly one month after the baby getting sick, my friend and her family are coming back home. They're scheduled to be released from the hospital on Wednesday. For the first little while, they are going to have a nurse live with them 24/7 to help take care of the baby. Apparently, they were finally able to find the right dosage for the seizure medication, and it's made a big difference. The baby's more alert, looking around, and moving her hands and arms more normally. Yay!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I have found out...

...that the kind of day I'm having is directly related to how Kaylee naps. Like yesterday, she took a couple of really good long naps, and she was happy all day. And I had a really good day. Today, she just won't sleep. I lay down with her this morning, nursed her to sleep (like I always do), but she decided to wake up after only 15 minutes. So then I lay down with her at noon for her afternoon nap (for which she usually sleeps 2 - 2.5 hours). It's now 1:30, and I've laid down with her 3 times now. She keeps waking up and screaming, obviously not ready to wake up. So I nurse her back to sleep and lay with her for a bit, only to have her wake up again shortly after I leave the room. I'm about to lose it. In fact, she's crying right now, and I just had to leave her for a few minutes, I'm so frustrated. Needless to say, my day is not going well. I'm not getting anything done. All I'm doing is dealing with a cranky baby. And Bryan's not taking his nap, either, so I just know what kind of afternoon we're going to be having... :o(

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

As for news about my friend's baby...

...the little girl got her tracheostomy and feeding tube in last Thursday. She's doing fairly well. The doctors are now trying to figure out the correct dosage for seizure medication. They think it's all the seizures she has that keep her from fully regaining consciousness (sp?). I asked my friend about the long-term prognosis, and she said right now they're just hoping that she'll be able to hold up her head on her own and smile. That's it. So very sad, how life can turn upside-down in what seems like a second (and stay upside-down forever). :o(

Fun Fun

Yesterday, when I picked up Tyler from school, he blurted out "my teacher showed us her underwear!!!" After the initial shock any parent would feel after hearing such an announcement from their Kindergartener, I figured out that the teacher really just showed part of her shirt. Essentially, she was wearing two t-shirts, and showed the children the one underneath to explain that she could wear that on top for "crazy dress day" (which is today). Out of the mouths of babes... HAHA.

This morning, I watched my friend's older two kids (their dad brought them up for a little while today). It was like "that's what it would be like to have two sets of twins and a baby". They had a lot of fun, though. After I dropped the older two off at school, I took the younger two and Kaylee to the store. They have those shopping "cars", where the little ones can sit in a car that's attached to the shopping cart. So fun! I also felt like Kaylee needed to get her hair done today. Here's the result.

Friday, October 21, 2005

What a beautiful day

Today really was a wonderful Fall day. Dave slept in with us this morning, and we had pancakes for breakfast. Then he went to school, and the kids and I just had a relaxing morning. Kaylee and Bryan took long naps (2.5 and 2 hours respectively), which was great! Then we played outside all afternoon, and it was so much fun. 60 degrees and sunny weather, just beautiful. For dinner, we went to Costa Vida, which was quite good. The boys got a nice long bath before bedtime, and Kaylee is just about ready for bed now. Gotta love good days. :o)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Something's going on...

...and I'm just not sure what it is. My friend's little girl is going in for surgery tomorrow to put in the tracheostomy and the feeding tube. It starts at noon, and should last approximately 3 hours. The neurosurgeon said he may not do any brain surgery after all. I guess the baby hasn't really progressed much during the past two weeks, and they don't think she'll improve much even with surgery. I.E. the surgery wouldn't do any good, really. I'm not sure that makes sense to me. I thought all along the surgery on the brain was to make sure there wouldn't be any more bleeds? I don't know... They're not giving my friend much hope that the baby is ever going to be anything but a baby. Meaning they think so much of her brain was damaged that she'll probably need lifelong care, and won't ever do anything. So terribly sad. I refuse to give up hope for her, though. She's such a strong little girl.

Then there's a couple in our neighborhood who are expecting twins. She just got put on bedrest, she's 30 weeks now. So they're gonna need help, too. I'm just not sure what's happening here? Maybe my life has been too sheltered so far, but all of a sudden I have all these friends/family with medical issues. I sure hope November is going to be a better month. October has been pretty awful so far...

Woohoo!

Kaylee is taking her second nap for today, in bed by herself! Sure, it's in MY bed, but hey, at least she's sleeping without me needing to hold her. Major progress... So, I should go clean my house, but it's so nice to be able to just sit down and do nothing for a minute... :p

Monday, October 17, 2005

My niece had surgery today

Her skull had fused prematurely, so they had to do surgery to correct that. The surgery was today. I guess it went well. They moved her left eye? I didn't know they could do that...
EDITED: They didn't actually move the eye, haha. What they did was reshape the bone around her left eye, so that it looks even with the right eye, and they moved up her left ear. Now that makes more sense.

On a different note, I'm feeling homesick today. It's one of those days where I just want my mom... :o( I was thinking about how we've lived here in UT for a year now, and how I'm starting to make some really good friends. And then I almost get depressed, because I know in 2 or 3 years we'll likely move again, who knows where. It's so sad to have to leave good friends, and then start all over. One of those days where I miss having my family close by.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Yet another update

Talked to my friend's husband today. The plan for their little girl is to get a tracheostomy and a feeding tube put in sometime next week. This should help her breath on her own, without aspirating. It also means that she will be able to move out of ICU! After she heals from having the trach and tube put in, she will undergo surgery to fix the fistula in her brain. Once she recovers from that, and her parents learn how to take care of the trach and the feeding tube, she can hopefully come home! :o)

Friday, October 14, 2005

It's nice to have friends

So last night, two very good friends of mine and I went out to Olive Garden. One of them is due to have a baby in a couple of weeks, so we thought it'd be fun to have a Girls' Night Out (instead of a baby shower). It was so much fun! The husbands all watched the kids, so it was just us ladies. We had such a good time together, sharing a good dinner, chatting, laughing... We're planning to do this again in a few months, when the other friend is due to have a baby. Hopefully we'll be able to bring along our other friend (the one whose baby is sick right now). The four of us have become really good friends over the summer. It's nice to know that were something to happen, someone would be right there to help. Yay for friends! :o)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It's surgery day

And I've been crying off and on all morning. I sure hope the doctors will be able to know how to best help this little girl. I'm really hoping to hear good news later today. I can't even begin to imagine the agony my friend and her husband must be feeling. What a difficult thing to have to go through.

EDITED TO ADD: Apparently, the surgeon wasn't back in town yet, so no surgery Thursday. Possibly today (Friday)? Haven't heard yet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

UGH, why make plans????

So, the one day I'm actually planning on getting things done in the morning... We're pretty much completely out of groceries. So Tyler only had an hour of Kindergarten this morning, and I thought, good, I'll pick him up at 11:00, and we can all go to the store. Well, I try putting Kaylee for a nap at 10:00, and she will only sleep in my arms while I'm rocking her. Every time I try to put her down, she wakes right up. So at 10:30, she's done with her nap. I put her on the floor to play with Bryan, and run out to hang the diapers on the clothesline. Get back in, have 10 more minutes before I have to go pick up Tyler. So I'm thinking, good, I'll nurse Kaylee, and off we go. Well, wouldn't you know it, instead of nursing, she decides to scream at me. So we go pick up Tyler, and instead of going to the store, I have to deal with a screaming baby. AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! Seriously, the one morning I actually make plans to do something.... Speaking of screaming baby, we're having another meltdown...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Wow, what a crazy weekend

Sunday afternoon, and I finally get a minute to sit down. We had such a busy day yesterday. Homecoming parade in the morning (too much candy!!!), then a trip to the library, then the football game. The game was fun, except for the fact that we got rained on pretty much the whole second half. It wasn't heavy rain, but steady. Oh well, it was worth it, I guess, USU won. Go Aggies! :p During the game, Tyler and Bryan got on each other's nerves quite a bit, which ultimately resulted in Tyler's teethmarks being left on Bryan's nose. Ah, brotherly love... Here's a couple of pictures, one of Bryan with Tyler's teethmarks, the other Kaylee enjoying the rain (or umbrella...).

Saturday, October 08, 2005

She's breathing on her own...

...and is even starting to cough a little to clear her lungs on her own (they still have quite a bit of fluid)! My friend's husband stopped by for a couple of mintues last night and told me about their little girl's progress. It sounds like her lungs are pretty weak still but she's recovering and on track for surgery on Thursday. I'm planning on driving down sometime to go see them, but still need to figure out the details as far as what to do with the kids.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A little girl's fight for life continues...

...and I feel so helpless. I can't even give my friend hugs anymore, because the hospital is almost 2 hours away. :o( They did some tests and an MRI on the baby yesterday. The MRI showed that one side of her brain was quite damaged, and the arteries through which they were going to try and fix the problem are too weak. So they'll have to do actual surgery. They also did an EEG, and during the half hour that they monitored brain activity, the little girl had 3 seizures. By the end of the day, all the moving around got to be too much on her, and her vitals started going all over the place. So they had to put her back on the ventilator. Since she reacted so badly to all the moving about, they've decided to put off the surgery for a while. It'll be a week from Thursday at the very earliest. That should give her little lungs some time to get stronger, so hopefully she'll be able to withstand the trauma inherent to surgery. This little girl is such a miracle baby for my friend. Based on some past history, she thought she was done having kids. Then got pg with this little one, and her pregnancy was so vastly different from the others, all in a good way. No bedrest, no preemie baby, in fact, she went a few days past her due date. She had the baby at home after two previous c-sections, and everything went so wonderfully. The baby was born big and healthy and strong. She truly is a miracle, and she's been a fighter so far. I strongly believe in the body's abilty to heal, especially in little babies, and at this time, I have to believe that this little girl will come out of this okay. My friend said she feels that if the baby survives, she'll likely need life-long care due to the damage lack of oxygen and bleeding did to her brain. I need to believe something good will come out of this. My friend has been through so much already, she just needs to get a break sometime. Life can surely seem unfair sometimes...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Good news for once!

My friend's husband called last night. The latest news is that they found out the baby has a fistula in her brain. What that means is that there is a connection between the artery and the vein. This doesn't usually require treatment, but since the baby has already come so close to death, they will likely do surgery. Apparently, the fistula is at a place in the brain that they can easily get to, and it sounds like the surgery would be pretty easy and safe (for brain surgery, I suppose). The baby is also out of immediate danger at this point, so it sounds like things are looking up a bit. The doctors are meeting today to discuss further treatment, so hopefully we'll get some more good news later today. I wish I could be down at the hospital with my friend. I can't even begin to imagine the emotional rollercoaster she must have been on since this all started Sunday afternoon. Her husband told me she had gotten probably an hour of sleep since all this started. I hope that she was able to get some more rest last night, after seeing that the baby is coming around and there is something that the doctors can do to help. How scary it must be to see your baby hooked up to life support, to know the baby had to be resucitated several times. My worst nightmare. :o(

Monday, October 03, 2005

More news

It appears the baby has/had an aneurysm in her brain. It looks like it was some type of congenital defect. Heart murmurs are also common with this defect, and her mom had had her heart checked especially looking for murmurs earlier, as her other two children had both been born with heart murmurs. But the baby's heart was just fine. It appears the aneurysm ruptured and caused bleeding in the brain. The baby is pretty much just being kept alive right now, hooked up to a ventilator. The prognosis is not good. I feel so incredibly sad for this family. :o(

My heart is breaking

For my poor friend. I just got off the phone with the hospital, and the baby is in ICU in critical condition. That's all they could tell me. I just feel sick. I go between crying and trying to be positive. It's just so incredibly sad. :o(

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Praying for my friend's little baby

She was life-flighted to SLC Primary Children's Hospital just a couple of hours ago. She's five weeks old. She was nursing this afternoon, and just stopped breathing. They had to work on her for quite some time to get her breathing again, and get her heart beating. It took a while for her to be stable enough to be life-flighted. And they weren't sure she was going to make it to the hospital. It's touch and go. I'm just in shock. My poor friend has already lost a baby due to some complications when she was at 20 weeks pregnant, no mother should have to go through losing two babies. :o(

Friday, September 30, 2005

And yet another baby on formula...

...because of an idiotic doctor giving "medical" breastfeeding advice. So a friend had a baby 3 weeks ago. He was 9.5 pounds, big boy. She has two other kids who she formula fed from birth. This time around, she wanted to actually give breastfeeding a try. Of course, being that it was really her first time ever trying to breastfeed, she wasn't really sure of herself and what she was doing. So her doctor tells her that since her baby was so big, she should only nurse him every 3 hours. This, of course, leads to her having mastitis by the time the baby is 2 weeks old. She then resorts to pumping, and introducing a bottle. Which leads to nipple confusion in the baby (DUH), and now at 3 weeks old, she says her "milk is gone" and the baby is completely on formula. She feels this is a good thing because breastfeeding was just stressing her out too much. It shouldn't have to be that way!!!!! Why oh why do doctors tell women to IGNORE their motherly instincts, IGNORE their baby's feeding cues, and put them on a feeding schedule from day one?????? Don't they realize that the first few weeks of breastfeeding are so crucial? That babies have tiny tummies, breastmilk digests quite quickly, and babies don't understand "it hasn't been 3 hours yet, stop crying for food"????? Don't they realize that a successful breastfeeding relationship is based on DEMAND feeding, especially during the first few weeks???? UGH. Or do they just not care???? Why don't doctors just back off and say "feed your baby when he's hungry, if you have any problems, here's the number for the local La Leche League leader"? It's so irritating!!!

DISCLAIMER: I'm not mocking formula feeding here. It's a choice women have, and I understand that in certain circumstances, breastfeeding is just not a feasible option. I also understand that some women would rather not breastfeed. That is their choice. What bothers me is DOCTORS giving "medical" advice that is bound to sabotage breastfeeding success....

Thursday, September 29, 2005

My poor baby

So Tyler had to go to the dentist today. He had 4 cavities that needed to be fixed. He came home crying. :o( He has to go back in November to get 3 more cavities fixed. I guess that's what we get for not taking him to the dentist sooner.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It's autumn time, it's autumn time...

the leaves are falling down... Wow, I'm so not ready for cold weather. We've had a few cold/rainy days, and it's so depressing. Thankfully, we still have lots of nice and sunny days on the weather forecast. What am I going to do once the weather gets too cold/wet to go outside??? I live for the afternoons, sitting outside with the girls while all the kids are playing. It's seriously kept me from going into depression this summer. :p Boy, life with three kids has been hard. A huge adjustment. I don't remember feeling this overwhelmed when I had the boys. But Kaylee has sure thrown me for a loop. She really is a good baby, but she's definitely more "needy" than the boys were. Good thing I learned all about baby wearing before I had her, it surely saved me those first few months. I think the hardest adjustment for me has been trying to meet everyone's needs. There are days where everyone is crying or whining or whatnot, and I just want to scream "Stop it!!!" But then, of course, I remember that I'm the mom, and it's my job to attend to my children. And I try my best to settle everyone down so my ears can get a break. :p Ah, the joys of being a parent. I'm just grateful to have a few good friends around, it helps to have some adult interaction every day. :o)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Why babies cry

...because they want their mom to get off the computer... :p

So, here we go

I'm joining the ever-growing crowd of bloggers. Yay for me! Or should I say, yet another attempt to keep a journal... Don't know that I have much to say, but hey, I'm sure I'll get into it. :o)